'I think we do humour well at home. We just slag ourselves off' - Comedian Jimeoin set for Belfast return
A household name in both Northern Ireland and Australia, we catch up with Jimeoin before he brings his show 'Ridiculous' to the Waterfront, Belfast this weekend.
The comedian (52), born James Eoin Stephen Paul McKeown, grew up in Portstewart where he was a pupil at Dominican College. He now lives in Melbourne with wife Catherine and his four children.
"It’s funny watching Game of Thrones in Australia and thinking, 'I know that place,’" the comedian says, most notably of an episode shot on Portstewart Strand.
He began his comedy career in Sydney, when a friend signed him up for a stand-up slot in their local pub. He was a carpenter at the time, but she (quite rightly) felt that stand-up comedy was his calling.
“The first time I saw stand-up comedy, I was blown away by it. All we ever did was go play pool in the pub and it was really starting to do my head in.”
Jimeoin then rose to UK fame through TV shows like Live At The Apollo, Michael McIntyre's Comedy Road Show, and our own The Blame Game.
Despite being based on the opposite side of the world, Jimeoin’s clued in on the Northern Ireland comedy scene. He admits he has good professional rivalry with Patrick Kilety, Colin Murphy, Micky Bartlett, and “anyone who’s another comic, really”.
“We’re all striving for the same piece of real estate. I love it. Sometimes I hang out with them all. It’s a good scene.”
So, what can a Belfast audience expect from Ridiculous? "A laugh, really," says Jimeoin.
"I try to go for the laughs, rather than any sort of political statement, or the rights or wrongs of society or whatever else seems to be a bit of a trend.
"People love that sort of s**** - something with a message. But I just don’t do it. I’m just all about undercutting those things and trying to get good, provisional jokes, to touch on subject matters that no one else touches on but, at the same time, everyone can relate to you.
"I think as a comic, that’s what you really aspire to."
Alongside mastering the art of observational comedy, the comedian is also known for his self-deprecating jokes.
“I’m the first person to get a slagging and I think that’s a really good thing, to be honest about my own shortcomings. If other people can see it in themselves, that’s great. That’s what people can hopefully relate to.
"I think we do humour well at home. We just slag ourselves off," he chuckles.
For fans of Jimeoin’s musical hit 'Third Drawer Down', you’re in luck, as he’ll be bringing his virtuosity to the Ulster Hall stage. But he warns that audience members should keep their expectations low, because, like the rest of his show, it’s “a bit daft, really”.
The beauty of Jimeoin's stand-up is that most of his humour is physical, so it doesn't ever feel dated. Watch a clip of the comedian’s early stand-up from Australian TV shows in the nineties and it translates as well today as it did then. And it’ll still be brilliant in 20 years time.
Tickets are £27 and can be purchased at www.waterfront.co.uk or by calling 028 9033 4455
Belfast Telegraph Digital